Senior Vice President,
In conversation with Construction times, Vijay Sharma, Senior Vice President, Jindal Stainless speaks in length about the latest initiatives taken by the company
As the construction and infra segments are picking pace, it is expected that the building material will also see a surge. Comment.
The Architecture, Building, and Construction (ABC) segment constitutes ~20% of the total Indian stainless steel demand. Stainless steel, as a contemporary metal, is the new-age solution for modern infrastructure. Given its properties of corrosion resistance, structural strength, and aesthetic prominence, coupled with safety and a near 100% recyclability, stainless steel is increasingly being adopted for modern infrastructural needs.
The stainless steel decorative pipes and tubes segment, currently growing at ~12% per annum, finds major applications in railings, furniture, decorative items, facades, etc. This segment is also expecting a growth thrust from the government’s focus on areas like redevelopment of railway stations, new highways, and metro projects, among other infrastructural developments.
Apart from this, owing to a high strength-to-weight ratio of the metal, stainless steel rebars and plates are key components of modern-day civil infrastructure like foot-over-bridges (FOBs) and road-over-bridges (ROBs).
Transit buildings such as airports and metro rapid mass transport systems have also been using stainless steel for applications like bollards, column claddings, ticketing counters, escalators, lifts, handrails, canopies, etc. It is noteworthy that a typical moderately-sized metro rail station uses 30-40 tonnes of stainless steel. As per government records, around 50 new airports are planned to come up in the next 10 years. Hence, stainless steel is expected to play a major role in building sustainable civic infrastructure.
The demand for stainless steel in India is growing at 8-9% per annum. In this backdrop, with a lofty investment of nearly Rs 35,000 crore for capacity expansion and modernization, the Indian stainless steel industry is motivated to fulfill the Indian government’s plan to hit the US $5 trillion economy target.
What is your current share in the domestic market?
As the industry leader, Jindal Stainless holds nearly 50% share in the domestic stainless steel market. It is fulfilling the Indian stainless steel demand of nearly 50-70% from the ART (Automobiles, Railways, and Transport) sector, about 60% from the ABC sector, and nearly 75% from the processing industry. Apart from this, Jindal Stainless also specializes in producing high-end precision strips and coin mints for the global market.
How was Q1FY20 for your company? What is your expectation for the current year?
The Q1FY20 results are still awaited. An uplifted sentiment for stainless steel demand growth in the ABC and ART sectors is brimming on the back of a hefty government spending on infrastructure. Indian Railways continues to be a major consumer of stainless steel in the form of wagons, coaches, and railway infrastructure. Government’s focused push towards e-mobility and BSVI (Bharat Stage VI) norms point to a promising demand of stainless steel in automobile components like vehicular exhausts, fuel tanks, disc brakes, chassis, roof sheets, etc., in the coming future. Apart from this, the hollowware sector shows potential for strong stainless steel consumption throughout the country.
Touch upon the new initiatives from the company side.
In this financial year, Jindal Stainless has launched its first-ever co-branding initiative with the domestic pipe and tube manufacturers in order to curb the rising counterfeiting in the segment. With a view to widen the scope of stainless steel applications, Jindal Stainless has also identified new focus areas. These include electric rickshaws, special hollowware grade, fish-breeding cages, bread moulds, etc. Jindal Stainless has also focused on improving its specialty products division, while increasing capacities for precision strips and blade steel production. With a view to ensure targeted, structured, and coordinated business development efforts, Jindal Stainless has restructured its internal teams. These teams will be responsible for increasing business share with existing and prospective customers, replicating Indian and global application success stories among other customers, and developing new stainless steel applications. Moreover, in order to give a push to the small and medium enterprises (SME) in the stainless steel industry, Jindal Stainless is in talks with the Odisha government for developing a stainless steel downstream park in Jajpur.
The markets are ever-changing, what are the newer features added to your product to increase efficiency and durability?
Stainless steel inherently boasts of a long life with low life cycle costs. This is because the metal can endure extremities better than its counterparts. Jindal Stainless is a proud supplier of world-class quality stainless steel products, in accordance with the BIS standards. It is also certified by JIS, implying that its products are fit for the Japanese and east-Asian markets. Jindal Stainless’ credibility is well endorsed by its varied portfolio of certifications like QTR Norsok, ISO, DNV GL, DIN EN ISO, OHSAS, etc.
Constant endeavors to fulfill quality control norms, along with a consistent supply to international markets, underline Jindal Stainless’ overall production efficiency. Its exports to quality-conscious markets, like Germany, further testify the world-class quality stainless steel produced by Jindal Stainless. Its supplies to the Sydney metro project, Sri Lankan Railways, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER − an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject), and the Indian Defence forces reinforce Jindal Stainless’ credibility as one of the leading stainless steel producers in the world.
Jindal Stainless also customizes products as per customer requirements to suit their production processes, and is consistently carrying out research to improve its product chemistry.
Additionally, Jindal Stainless is streamlining its operations through internal process improvements, like casting and rolling parameters, which has resulted in a higher yield. What’s motivating is the fact that Jindal Stainless is equipped to produce a wide range of grades under 200, 300 and 400, and duplex series which are adequate to meet the domestic consumer demand.
What is your target until 2022?
Jindal Stainless plans to increase the melting capacity at its Jajpur facility from 0.8 MT to 1.1 MT through de-bottlenecking and process balancing by the next financial year. The increase in capacity would require a capex of around Rs 40-50 crore, which will result in a production increase of 12-15% over the next 2-3 years.
It is also focusing on increasing the capacities of value-added products as it is doubling its precision strips’ production capacity from ~14 KT to ~28KT with an estimated capex of about Rs 170 crore. This is expected to commission within FY21. Jindal Stainless is continuing to make solid efforts towards expanding its reach in the long products market. It is also evaluating inorganic growth options. So, on the whole, Jindal Stainless has good options for both, brownfield expansions and inorganic growth.